How To Care For Tiger Barb Fish

The Tiger Barb is a tropical cyprinid fish. Cyprinids include carps, minnows, and many others within those families. They are also sometimes called the “carp family” or the “minnow family.” Tiger Barbs are found in a variety of locations in Asia.

In an aquarium, your Tiger Barb prefers a water temperature of 75-82 degrees with a pH level between 6.0 and 8.0. They can live at many depth levels as well as light levels. So, there is no need for anything other than the aquarium hood light. Tiger Barbs like to have shelter. Therefore your substrate should be fine gravel with large rocks and cobble. 

These fish can grow to be 2.8 to 3.9 inches long and 1.2 to 1.6 inches wide. They usually are smaller when kept in captivity in a freshwater aquarium. Native Tiger Barbs are silver or brownish-yellow with black stripes. They also have red fins and a red snout. You can also find Green or Albino Tiger Barbs.

Tiger Barbs are active, fun fish to keep in a freshwater aquarium. The males are typically smaller and more colorful than the females. But either one is great to have in your tank. They will give you and your children plenty of exciting things to watch. 

Other Healthcare Requirements

Besides the pH level and the water temperature, you need to have alkalinity between 50 ppm and 140 ppm. You need to maintain good filtration, change 10%-15% of the water every week, or you can opt to change 25% every two weeks.

Tiger Barbs need to be kept in a 30-gallon tank, minimum. Any species of barb does best in a school of 10 or more. Make sure they have plenty of swimming space.

Just to be on the safe side, I would keep a school of 10 Tiger Barbs in a 40-gallon aquarium. Tiger Barbs are very happy and less stressed if they have a well-decorated, healthy tank. If you use dark decorations and substrate, it will bring out the colors of your Tiger Barb.

The majority of barbs are omnivores and enjoy tropical flakes, color flakes, shrimp pellets, and tropical fish granules. You can give them fresh, live, or frozen food, on occasion.

The Tiger Barb will consider it a treat, and most aquarium fish love a little treat now and then. As with all other freshwater aquarium fish, you need to rotate their diet and only feed them what they can eat in 2 minutes or less. Tiger Barbs only need to eat once or twice a day.

How To Determine The Gender Of Your Tiger Barb

Both female and male barbs have stunning colors. They are both moderately aggressive and very active. Kids love to stand at the aquarium, watching them swim and play. If you want to breed your Tiger Barbs, you will need to make sure you have both genders. Of course, this is mandatory for almost every species. 

The male Tiger Barb is generally more colorful than the females. They also have a red nose early in the development stage. When the male has reached sexual maturity, his ventral fins turn bright red. Female Tiger Barbs are less colorful, their belly area is larger (more full), and they will be larger.

Tiger Barbs are not sexually dimorphic, so you have to rely on their subtle differences to determine what gender they are. It is easier to tell what gender a Tiger Barb is after the seven-week mark. 

With the Tiger Barbs, you may need to kick-start the breeding process. This process is called conditioning. First, you will need to separate them. Put the males in one tank and the females in another tank. You also need to start them on a high-protein diet.

Conditioning synchronizes spawning and helps to ensure that the Tiger Barbs will produce a large number of eggs and excellent quality fry. 

Will Tiger Barbs kill Each Other?

Certain fish species can not be housed in the same tank. For example, two male betta fish can not, under any circumstances,  co-habitat the same aquarium.

Tiger Barbs are mildly aggressive, but they prefer to be in groups or schools. Tiger Barbs will bully smaller tank mates by nipping at their fins. Because they like to nip at fins, it is wise not to have betta fish or any other species with long, flowing fins in the tank with your Tiger Barb. 

Aggressive behavior between tank mates is standard. But unlike the betta fish, two males are not going to fight until one is dead consistently. The Tiger Barb will battle for dominance within the school. If you have a small school (6 barbs), there is a chance of one of them killing the other, though it is not intentional. 

If you keep larger schools of Tiger Barbs, twelve or more, there is not quite as much aggression and fighting. If you add your Tiger Barbs in groups and not individually, it will lessen the aggressive behavior.

Tiger Barbs do not intentionally kill other species either. They just like to bully by nipping at the fins of other fish. 

Why Are My Tiger Barbs Fighting?

Fish with any type of aggressive tendencies are eventually going to fight for one reason or another. Usually, it is to take control of specific territory in the tank. Sometimes during spawning, fish can get aggressive with each other as well.

As mentioned above briefly, Tiger Barbs will fight more if the school is small. They are trying to establish the hierarchical system, also known as the pecking order. They will again fight when new Tiger Barbs are added to the tank to defend their territory and the already established school. 

If you do not want any type of aggressive behavior or fighting in your aquarium, you need to purchase docile, relaxed fish. Fish that do not pay attention to other fish in the tank. 

When Tiger Barbs are kept in larger schools, the higher-ranking fish’s aggressive nature will be distributed down the line. This makes it safer for the less dominant fish. The longer the school, the more neutralized the aggressions will be.

You can also keep an excellent hardy fish that can handle the Tiger Barbs’ aggressive nature. Danios, loaches, tetras, and mollies are a few species that would be good tank mates for your Tiger Barb. 

Extra Tiger Barbs Information

I didn’t cover, in this article, the different types of Tiger Barbs that you can have in your freshwater aquarium. There are three specific species of Tiger Barb that make excellent aquarium pets. 

  • Original Tiger Barbs: They have a silver/gold appearance. Their orange/red fins complement their body color. The original Tiger Barb will add plenty of interesting activity and a splash of color to your aquarium. 
  • Green Tiger Barbs: These are also referred to as Moss-Green Tiger Barbs. They boast varying shades of green and blacks all along their bodies and fins. When you see a Green Tiger Barb for the first time, they look black. 
  • Gold or Albino Tiger Barb: This particular Tiger Barb is a light yellow or orange in color. They will have white or lighter yellow stripes running down their bodies. These Tiger Barbs are magnificent and will bring a stunning look to your aquarium. 


For the most part, besides the occasional aggression, Tiger Barbs are a wonderful fish to keep in your freshwater aquarium. They are beautiful in color, active and fun to watch, and are happiest when you keep them in schools of 10 or more.

Imagine having a dozen Green Tiger Barbs swimming around in your aquarium. Seeing the different shades of green as they passed by the aquarium lights. 

Tiger Barbs are also easy to maintain and are not picky eaters. They will gladly eat Tropical fish flakes and granules, shrimp pellets, and live or frozen food on occasion. You do not need any special lighting for the Tiger Barb.

The lighting that comes in your aquarium hood is sufficient. A good filtration system, and effective shelter decorations and your Tiger Barb will be in hog heaven.  As with any fish that you want to purchase for your freshwater aquarium, make sure that you do plenty of studying up on the species.

This will give you the confidence and peace of mind to be able to spot a potential issue before it gets out of hand. It will also give you all of the necessary information on care, food, tank set-up, tank mates, and a lot more. You can also ask the pet professionals at the pet store any additional questions that you may have. 


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